I’m reading about George Muller and I’m very challenged by his lifestyle rather than encouraged. So I pause.
The Father asks why.
I describe the spirit of the day; work hard, achieve through effort and performance.
I was struck on the way home yesterday that we in the church use very dated language.
I cycled by a church on in South London and they have a huge banner declaring that only by the name of Jesus are we saved – which is indeed true, but to the un-churched around us, that means absolutely nothing. Saved from what, exactly?
In Jesus’ day, the Jews didn’t have a word for religion as it was an intrinsic part of their life, so they understood concepts of sin, grace, judgement, blessing etc. They would have understood that to be ‘saved’ is to be rescued from death and judgement – but now we are in a time where people are increasingly spiritual but have no anchor as we live in a pick‘n’mix culture, most people would associate save with either football, money or electronic filing.
And I’m not sure what language we use ; the weighty concepts of eternal heaven and hell, righteous judgement and grace have become watered down and form part of everyday casual language.
I’m stuck and need some help here, any thoughts?
Let’s talk about love. Love is a gift of common grace, which means it is generously given to all people all over the world since person number 1 until the last day. This is the reason why you are capable of loving anyone or anything. It’s pure grace. If God chose to remove this gift, in an instant you would be incapable of loving at all.
The BBC posted an article on it’s website that I found most intruiging ; it talks about the wave of people who call themselves spiritual, but have no religious affiliation, a wave that seems to be getting bigger.
I can totally understand the appeal, and would probably be part of it myself if I weren’t a Christian.
Here is stolen blurb from anywhere that sells the book :
Everyone’s idea of discipleship is different. Some people emphasize evangelism-sharing their faith. Still others promote a hierarchical system for spiritual growth, a way for older Christians to pass on best practices to younger believers. Yet, both ideas are incomplete. Real discipleship is so much more.
Avoiding extremes and evaluating motives, Jonathan Dodson’s Gospel Centered Discipleship insists on a way of following Jesus that re-centers discipleship on the gospel.
This book helps us understand and experience the fullness of discipleship as God intended. It combines the mess and the weight, the imperfection and transformation, the honesty and wonder of being a disciple who revolves around Jesus. Here is a practical guide to discipleship that is Spirit-filled, Christ-centered, field-tested, and easily implemented.
My thoughts :
This book was a very quick read, especailly after some of the other books I’ve read lately, and I found it to be repetitive and light. The theology is sound and the anecdotes are useful, but it didn’t really take me in until it got the chapter about the work of the Holy Spirit, which for me should have been much longer. The basic thrust of the book is that we should be striving to live the gospel rather than being stuck in either false piety or distracting mission focus, both of which are reliant on works for salvation. In contrast, living the gospel does have works, but they are an outworking of faith, not the fuel for it. The idea of fight clubs – groups of 2-3 with regular meeting, sharing and accountability – is a good one, even if the name is cringe-worthy, but again, the section dealing with them was repetitive. As I read the book I realised that I started to see many sentences as quick tweets or status updates, which would sound good and cause friends to stop and think “hmm, yes, excellent point”, but I feel that a book full of standalone statements can really stand alone. Whilst the main theme was interesting and well thought out, I would suggest that this book be used as a step toward achieving deep relationships rather than a piece of defining literature.
I feel terrible being generally negative, but for all the good about it, it didn’t blow me away and I doubt I’ll read it again, unless as part of a discussion with my sensibly-named accountability group.
First sentence | Last sentence :
“I’ll never forget my introduction to discipleship” | “Until we learn to meet him face to face, may we learn the gospel, relate in the gospel, and share in the gospel with ever increasing devotion”
In a nutshell :
Dont’t build discipleship on works or piety, instead focus on the diagonal gospel of Christ in a company of men/women in which there is 100% accountability. Think of this book as a useful tool for your kit.
Did you find this review helpful? Leave a comment and let me know!
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